“Imperium ut Cibum in Panem”
Harjas Kaur Brar
ANTH 102: Hunger Games Final Paper
Dr. Nicola Mooney
March 28, 2018
The book Hunger Games (Collins, 2008) and the film of the same name (Ross, 2012) both take place in a country once known as North America, now called Panem. In this dystopian society the Capitol is home to Panem’s rich and wealthy, including the president of Panem, President Snow. The Capitol is surrounded by 12 outlying districts which are organized and controlled in a hierarchical format. Heroine and trilogy narrator Katniss Everdeen, lives along with her mother and sister Primrose in District 12, the poorest of Panem, where people die regularly due to starvation. This quiet and depressed town is miles away from the corrupt Capitol, but is still governed with a firm grip. The Hunger Games trilogy is filled with injustice, violence, and dictatorship. I will argue that in this futuristic, post-apocalyptic society of the Hunger Games, food divides rich and poor, empowered and oppressed, pure and putrid. The extravagance at the Capitol contrasts sharply with the poverty of the outlying districts. As such, it provides a lens to analyze how power and control operate in this society.
The government in the Hunger Games is an authoritarian one, which means that it has complete power over the people of Panem. The government has absolute control over every part of their lives, and the citizens get absolutely no say about any of it, no voting, no elections, no democracy. Any kind of rebellion results in tyrannical punishments and the Capitol has established the Hunger Games to remind the citizens of that. It is important to note how the Capitol prevents the people in the Districts from joining forces and rebelling against the government. The annual Games keep the people of the 12 Districts divided. Worst of all the government shows no sympathy towards the families of tributes and broadcasts the event on live television. By doing this Capitol is reinforcing the idea that the tributes are giving their lives for more than the entertainment of the Capitol. They are giving their lives so they do not end up like destroyed like District 13. The Capitol is willing to uphold their control by any means necessary. They will eliminate anyone who tries to rebel against them. It is a huge challenge for those families with children in the Games. The government shows total disregard for young children's lives by forcing them to compete till death in the annual Hunger Games.
Long before the Games were created, the 13 Districts allied together in attempt to rebel against the Capitol. In the book Katniss explains that the uprising resulted in the destruction of District 13 and the establishment of the Hunger Games. As a punishment for the past rebellion each District must select two children by lottery during the reaping, one boy and one girl between 12-18 years old to participate in the annual Hunger Games. The Games are a televised event in which the...